There were five until Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said Monday during the first Big 12 coaches weekly teleconference that he had settled on junior college transfer Jake Waters as the starter.
TCU coach Gary Patterson will let everybody find out who starts for the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs when either Casey Pachall or Trevone Boykin run out on the field against 12th-ranked LSU on Saturday night. Both are expected to play.
"The difference with me is I think I can win with both of them in big games," said Patterson, who certainly has to know who will start but isn't saying.
Pachall is 15-2 as a starter, but played only four games last season before leaving school for a substance abuse program. Boykin then won three Big 12 road games.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy plans to play both Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh, though isn't saying who will take the first snap for the No. 13 Cowboys against Mississippi State in the other Big 12 vs. SEC matchup on the opening weekend.
"That's really what I've said throughout the spring and it's not changed," Gundy said. "Both quarterbacks have improved from last season, both quarterbacks played fairly well in games last season, so they deserve to play. If there was separation where one was considerably better than the other, then we would play, or name him the starter.
As for having more than one quarterback, Gundy was quick to point out, "last year there were times we had success with three of them." Wes Lunt transferred to Illinois. Chelf and Walsh both threw for more than 1,500 yards with at least 13 touchdowns.
The quarterback job at West Virginia is down from three to Florida State transfer Clint Trickett or Paul Millard, who was Geno Smith's backup the past two seasons. It had been three with redshirt freshman Ford Childress.
"They've kind of risen their game a little bit and they're battling," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We had to kind of narrow it down. Once we did, Paul looked good, and we felt it warranted to keep the competition going."
With expected starter Michael Brewer dealing with a back problem, new Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is down to two freshmen—Davis Webb or walk-on Baker Mayfield—to choose from for his head coaching debut at SMU on Friday night. Both could play.
While Waters was tabbed as the first Kansas State quarterback to play after the graduation of Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, Snyder said "in all likelihood" Daniel Sams will also play against North Dakota State on Friday.
Only No. 15 Texas with David Ash returns the same starter from all of last season.
"He's more confident, he's stronger, he's got more experience," coach Mack Brown said of Ash, who has started 18 of his 25 games. "The biggest difference, because of his confidence, he's able to lead."
Sam Richardson took over as Iowa State's starter the last three games of his freshman season, when he had eight TDs and one interception. Bryce Petty, a fourth-year junior, has been the backup to Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and record-setting Nick Florence at Baylor.
"He's been in every meeting, been in every game with us, so he's seen it all," Bears coach Art Briles said. "That's all kind of filtered down to him through absorption, to where he's got a feel for what should happen before it does. ... We feel confident going into this week with Bryce at the helm."
No. 16 Oklahoma is going with redshirt freshman Trevor Knight as the starter. Kansas, the only Big 12 team that doesn't play the opening weekend, has BYU transfer Jake Heaps after he had to sit out last season.
The Sooners are replacing 50-game starter Landry Jones with a first-time starter over Blake Bell, the junior who has run for 24 career touchdowns in primarily short-yardage situations the past two seasons.
"Blake is continuing to work and compete and maybe, unlike some other years where we've given the bulk of the reps to one guy, we'll be sure that Blake is continuing to get more reps in practice," said coach Bob Stoops, who named his starter late last week. "Trevor's handled it much like he has all camp. He's always come to practice ready to work. They both have. ... (Knight) has had to show consistency and ability this whole time. It's a big body of work to evaluate."